The internet is a wonderful way to hear the teachings of others we might not otherwise even know exist...
Nadia Bolz Weber
is one of those people for me. A couple of times a week, I spend time
catching up on her newest sermon, or reading (or re-reading) some of her
older ones and I rarely come away without at least one..."she's talking
about me!" moments...
For those who
haven't read or heard her before, I will warn sometimes her language
might seem coarse but it's real...don't get hung up on the word choice
because she does have a way of putting thoughts together that will speak
to you (or at lease she does to me)...
Today was one of those days. While reading "Sermon on the Parameters We Prefer For Jesus to Work Under" God
once again used her words to smack me in the head. (Don't be offended
by that term, I know we serve a gentle and loving God but sometimes He
has to resort to extreme measures to get my attention, or slow me down,
or pull me out of the pity hole I have dug and jumped in to). Anyway,
these words jumped off the page at me...
"...Because I noticed that in the text, Jesus rebuked the religious
leader for valuing parameters more than people – not for defending the
practice of Sabbath-keeping. Sabbath was still a valid way in which
divine love, and healing and grace happened. The leader of the synagogue
was not wrong in his love for keeping Sabbath. He was wrong in assuming
that if God works within the parameters of Sabbath keeping that God
cannot also work outside the parameters of Sabbath keeping.
...I think what we are so prone to do is to think that if there is an
experience of the Gospel within a particular set of circumstances, that
means that only under that particular set of circumstances can
the Gospel be experienced. As though God’s agency is limited to the
ways in which we happen to experience God.
A couple weeks ago I got to hear Catholic theologian James Allison
talk about how we think faith is about striving – keeping parameters,
calling people out for not having it right, spiritual practices,
doctrinal purity… whatever – but that really faith is about relaxing.
Specifically, relaxing in the way we do when we are with a friend who we
know for certain is fond of us. We don’t have to strive around them
and we somehow still become our best self – funny, spontaneous, free.
Allison suggests that faith is trusting so much that God is fond of us
that we just fricken relax.
I think that is what Jesus was saying to the religious leader, not
that there is anything wrong with Sabbath keeping, but that Oh my gosh,
And if that’s true…if faith is akin to relaxing and if relaxing about
stuff is hard for us, I wonder if on some level that’s because It’s
hard to relax when we think that grace is limited, or there is only so
much divine love to go around. Which is when we should remind each other
that divine love, healing, grace….. these are not economic categories.
Divine love is simply not a limited resource and it is most certainly
not something that happens only here or only in this way or only among
us or and… I can’t wait to see the blog comments on this one…only among
Take a few moments and read the entire text above...